24 may Friday
Random but when we were kids we never asked to watch movies, our parents just brought us to watch movies they thought we’d like. Appreciate that effort.
These days when I wake up I think about what to eat and what to do with my day.
Feeling cheated cos there is no air con in my room!! Wth.. Seriously man!! It is warm and stuffy in here. How to sleep sia? Lucky I found a place and will be moving out tmr.
Also not feeling so well. Hope I am OK.
Had ramen for dinner and not bad! The meat was amazing and egg was good but broth has some back pepper that I disliked. Walked around at hongdae and it was so lively! But went back early cos tired and also I have so many nights here, will definitely be spending a lot of time there.
Please let Seoul be a good experience for me.
25 may sat
Sitting in a really nice cafe with good mocha and very good fromage cheesecake (finally!) and it feels like I’ve finally found a place I feel grateful to be in. Found 4 books at the secondhand bookstore and I am seriously excited about reading them. This made my day and possibly my week. Been wanting to just nua and read in a cafe for a long time but no book!
This morning I could barely get up!! Freaking tired. But I had to check out by 10am and i did. Kinda proud of myself for always making things work. Sweeting profusely by the time I got to my new accom. Mina was so nice and friendly! And it is so cute that it’s called Goblin cos each room has a projection screen for viewing the drama!! Gonna do it on a rainy day 😁 I told her about ziying and she got excited and she told her mother about ziying too. Then she said ‘give me a hug!’ so I did. It felt nice to meet mutual friends.
Starving and looking for brunch, walked all the way to a pork BBQ restaurant only to find it was closed. Went to hongik and had pork broth, not satisfying but at least no msg in soup I think. Wanted to hang out in a cafe after that hut got the bright idea of visiting a secondhand bookstore first damn lucky there was one with English books nearby!! So now I am finally in a cafe which I am grateful to have found. Feeling blissful now and hopeful about my week in Seoul. Wiuhiu!
Lucky I started my entry this afternoon. Supposed to have an early night but ended up chatting and Instagram storying… And OK I ended up downloading Tinder to find a dining companion and omg I am reminded of why I got off Tinder but it is actually kinda fun now cos the objective is different. Quite eager to see how this turns out. My friends seem v supportive.
Dinner at outdark, it was not bad but Malaysia kfc is still better??
Surprisingly not full so I had xiao long bao after that but regretted it cos didn’t enjoy and I rather spend the stomach spade on ice cream. Walked ard a bit then went home. It has been a very nice day 🙂 pleasant weather and things went so smoothly. Thank you! I am grateful. Can’t wait to go back to the cafe to read.
Listening non stop to a song i heard playing at a shop and found it via shazam. Loved it at first listen. This makes my day!
26 may Sunday
Sitting in the same cafe with the amazing cheesecake and listening to that song. Nothing can be better than this. Feeling relieved I decided not to visit palaces today. The weather is so hot!!
Slept at about 4am last night cos I threw up… Feeling like shit now. Why am I so greedy??
I have no mood to explore Seoul leh. I just wanna sit in a cafe and eat cheesecake and read book everyday. Shit!
Just listened to a Ted talk about traveling omg and I needed to hear the part about arrival. Instead of viewing the journey in linear terms as a means to an end, which gives you a sense of loss when you reach your destination, think about it as multiple journeys with multiple points of l arrivals. Every person you meet is a destination in itself. Extend that vision to the way you view the world/life. The man who served him tea refused to let him pay and said ‘the way we see it, you walked all the way here just to see us’.
Read the book till 7pm. It was really good! But I realise how lazy my brain has become, my attention span is so short that I kept stopping to check my phone and also I listened to the same song for 2 hours!! Went for dinner but the Italian place was closed and I was near my accom so I tried to find the tempura recommended by Mina. But I typed in the wrong address and ended up at the bbq place so I lost control and had it. Really regret it cos my stomach is so tired now I don’t feel like having heavy food anymore but suddenly I have 6 men on Tinder willing to eat with me!! And I already had fried chicken and bbq alone. Shit man! Is that a FWP or what.
27 may Monday
Headache now. Slept at 4am last night. This is ridiculous! Why am I damaging my body like this?! I really feel very terrible. I promise to have early nights from now on. Discipline!!
E sounds nice, I hope tonight’s dinner won’t be awkward.
No mood to explore Seoul. I just wanna curl up in bed and watch a movie or read. 1.5 weeks of ridiculously late nights really make me feel like shit.
OK I know why I felt so shitty. My period came in the afternoon and now I am cramping. Wah sian! Anw I ended up watching YouTube videos and reading a little before going out to meet E. I got a bit nervous but everything was fine in the end. He wasn’t over friendly like most Americans but he was polite and tried to make convo. We found our way there together and he pointed out famous shops. He didn’t eat much and seems to have low energy, but convo flowed well – he asked about sg and said he always wanted to go there – and it was fun la. Turned out that he wasn’t feeling well. He paid for the meal although I said I would pay my share cos he felt bad for leaving early. I felt bad for making him eat with me, it felt like he was entertaining me. I walked him to the main road. I feel very grateful, he genuinely seemed like a gentle and kind soul who didn’t want anything more than a meal. And so well mannered! Thank you for the kindness received.
28 May tue
What an extroverted day it has been! Too tired to write a detailed entry but i feel like I should. Got up around 9 cos of my package and Mina gave me homecooked breakfast!! She said ‘sorry to wake you up but I just wanted to cook for my friend’s friend!’ what a sweetheart!! Then the package arrived at 10plus which was perfect cos I could go out!! Mina received it for me and I gave 5000won. Good start to my day.
Slacked off for a while before going out to meet James for lunch at 1pm – luckily he was up for some spontaneity – and it was fun! He was better looking than in person and he behaved a little formally cos he is a tour guide!! Lucky me! So it was not awkward at all, he did the tour guide tone for a while but when we sat down to eat it felt more like being with a friend. I like it when I can see people’s motivation for meeting up, and for him it was to find out more about Singapore and Malaysia, well SEA in general and cos he is extroverted and likes to talk to people and sadly he doesn’t get to meet his friends often cos their schedules are opposite. It was fun to discuss Asia politics with him and stuff like housing in sg/hk, prices in NZ, Korean culture and our careers. In the end it did feel like talking to a friend. He talked non stop though and our lunch lasted 2 hours!! At least I did get to enjoy the Andong jjimdak. I paid half the bill as promised and we walked to the subway station where he gave me directions to hanbok village and we shook hands before going out separate ways.
Visited the national museum. Quite interesting learning about Joseon Dynasty. Korea is just so similar to China!! The Palace was closed so I walked to hanbok village and it was so hot I wondered if I would have rather spent today at home too but nah, I needed to get out and explore. My menses was making it rather uncomfortable though. Hanbok village turned out to be nothing much. Maybe cos I was in jeonju. Regret visiting it. Walked to a cafe but the tiramisu was sold out so I walked to another cafe. Bad service but anw I got a cheesecake and then realised I had left my powe bank at the jjimdak restaurant!! Sian! Went all the way back to get it, heng it was still there. Sat on a bench outside stoning and suddenly it occurred to me to cut my hair so I did! I like how he curled it.
Then off to meet Austin. Was 5 mins late. Glad the timing worked out smoothly. We walked to the restaurant together and as it got a little dark I suddenly got worried and asked where it was and when we turned the corner it was all bright streets so I felt relieved. Austin wasn’t the typical American either – he did ask many questions and seemed energetic and a little awkward with many hand movements and he kept saying ‘yes!’ turns out that he is a history teacher so that explained many things haha! It was really fun talking to him, the convo never stopped, he had so much to say and it was really interesting. I liked him. He was very genuine and innocent and like the previous 2, it felt like meeting a friend. We ordered shabu shabu and when the hotpot was served, I pointed out the mala and explained what it was and told about Haidilao. He was so surprised and disappointed!! So cute🤣 and I spoke to the waitress in Chinese which surprised him too. I explained (again) about the 4 races in sg. So satisfying to be able to contribute. His 2 friends arrived, they were Korean American and Chinese American. They were very nice too and asked me about nz but I didn’t get far in my stories cos they were a little drunk and kept interrupting haha! But when I told them about hitchhiking, vince was so impressed and excited, he kept shouting and called me a hippie, a Singapore hippie and then kept laughing. It was so funny. Also talked to Austin about books and music and sports. He is quite an interesting person. He called train to busan a documentary Hahahaha and then described another ‘documentary’ that is actually Kill Bill so I laughed. Then vince made us take a photo tgt. It was slightly awkward and when they both left for a cigarette, austin immediately turned to me and said ‘just in case there is a misunderstanding, I have a girlfriend.’ which surprised me cos he is on Tinder so I asked if she is OK w it. Happy for him but also very surprised. They met when she was waitressing in a restaurant and she galot a colleague to talk to him and tell him she thinks he is cute before giving him her number. He said it was very middle school but well it’s Korea. Also vince and Gary are both from UCB too!! Omg they so smart. Anw it was so nice to meet them, I felt really comfortable and it was really like being with friends! I didn’t expect tonight to be so fun and I am very grateful for this heartwarming experience.
29 may Wed
Was so tired today. I couldn’t barely wake up. My skin is haggard and tired looking… Urgh! So I hurriedly did my laundry and went to meet Sung Woo. I was a little late but he was so nice about it. It wasn’t awkward and he was cooler than I thought he would be. He was easy to talk to. Told me about his background and honestly it sounded like a terrible and lonely childhood. No wonder he is screwed up. But still he is very nice. He has a gf too, which surprised me. He couldn’t believe I never had a boyfriend before, apparently it is super important to Koreans. He said he was upset that I only asked me out on my second last day. It is flattering that he is so enthusiastic about meeting me and I am kinda touched. I think he just really wanted a friend to spend time with and talk to. The food was really good too and I over ate again urgh so uncomfortable! We split the bill, – I paid 4000 plus extra cos he calculated wrongly but he was honest and tried to give me back the money when he realised it. I was feeling sorry for him so I told him to keep it. So I am happy and a little relieved that it turned out so well.
On the way to the subway, 2 girls asked me if there is a bookstore with English books nearby. I said no but told them about Aladin. They thought I was Korean so they were surprised I spoke English and they started asking so many questions that it was a little weird and they ended up inviting me to their club which is about traditional Korean culture. On the way there I started feeling so sleepy and tired omg I regretted my decision. We talked all the way and I showed them my NZ photos. I was also on alert in case it is a scam. We got to the building and the club was on the fourth floor. Sat down and Min Kyung taught me about the Jung Sung ceremony. I barely listened cos it was hard to follow her English. Went downstairs and changed into a hanbok. She taught me the 3 bows then we did the ceremony which was excruciatingly long. She lied about the entire duration. Sian. We kept bowing and bowing and I was sweating and when she sang the song while we kneeled it was so long my legs went numb. Then we burnt our wish paper. Finally it finished and I was so relieved. We changed out and she talked more about the ceremony. Apparently every family has a sky door and the ceremony opens the sky door. Since I was the one who did it, my name is the key. It can only be done once and if I do it again, the bond between me min kyung will be broken and it is bad. She will pray for 100 days for me and my family and I cannot tell anyone about it cos my wishes won’t come true. Just like how if you tell someone your bday wishes they won’t come true. After that we ate fruit and cookies. I was so full. She said I could choose to donate money, go together to market to buy food, or not give anything. I chose the second option so we got some soju which surprised me so I asked and she said they are for cleaning the room and for the ceremony. The whole thing took 3 hours leh!! Wth. Said goodbye to them at 7 and went home cos too full to eat dinner but had Greek yoghurt in the end. It was full of Korean ladies I guess everyone wants to be thin. It was not bad but I really needed to shit! I shat a lot a lot when I got back. Then kept my laundry.
Managed to find someone for beef bbq lunch tmr. He seems like a perfect gentleman cos he called the restaurant to ask about their beef! And he said we can meet at my preferred timing. Hope he is as nice as he seems. Too bad he can’t really speak English. Looking forward to it.
30 May Thursday
I am so tired right now!! Not looking forward to the overnight flight. Anw I am quite creeped out now cos I just realised my experience with those girls yesterday… It was a cult!! Shit man how could I have been so stupid! There were so many red flags and I did want to leave at so many points but they seemed so nice!! Once again, lesson learnt. TRUST MY INSTINCT AND LEAVE WHEN I WANT TO. seriously, why do I still have the problem of being too nice and doubting myself when I suspect something is wrong? It happened when wwoofing with the Eastons, with Nazer and now this stupid cult!! Damn it. From now on I am really going to put my foot down and leave when I have to! Luckily there doesn’t seem to be any negative effect from that ceremony we performed… But then again the author of the article I read didn’t give out all her details. But I feel so silly and used now urgh!! So much regret
This morning the Korean guy cancelled on me but it was ok cos I kinda expected it and I was grateful for the effort he put in and he had the courtesy to msg me instead of just unmatching me. Went out to eat ramen and it was not bad! Then ran a few errands – mailed the adapter back to centurion, happy that is is cheaper than expected! And changed baht. It was quite efficient cos I didn’t get too lost and they were all in the same area. Felt quite accomplished. Back to the cafe for my fav cheesecake!!
Very blissful to sit down and read again – the book is very Dan Brown – and I msged Austin about it. He said he liked cheesecake so I recommended the cafe but he thought I was inviting him on the spot haha!! Quite paiseh. He seems like a nice and interesting person. It is quite cool that I am kinda still in contact with all the guys I met. James just msged me to asked me how I am doing. Emmett just asked for my number. And I am talking to Erkan now. He invited me to watch a baseball game with him and his sister. It sounded exciting so I went and I was early so I got the tickets first. They paid me back as soon as we met, so nothing suspicious at all. It was so much fun!! They were obviously close and teased each other quite a bit, but were also very friendly towards me. They were born and raised in Holland but roots are in syria/turkey. Their grandparents were from the part that used to be Syria but was taken over by Turkey 80 years ago. So they can speak 5 languages – Dutch, English, German, Turkish and Arabic. Cool! They asked me questions about Singapore too. We went to the souvenir shop and he wanted to buy the cute bear hairbands for me and his sister aw! But I said no. In the end she got it and he got a scarf. We made our way to the seats. I didn’t expect the field to be so small! We took a few photos together. The game wasn’t as exciting as expected, Doosan was underperforming and nobody was really sprinting? The cheerleaders were very pretty though. The atmosphere was good but nothing crazy. The flies were annoying. He kept talking to me but I didn’t find it irritating cos the game wasn’t that entertaining and he was quite interesting. We left early cos I had to catch my flight and she had a presentation tomorrow. Took the train back home together and discussed Korea and Singapore and Holland – in Holland what you study matters more than where you study. Korea is very corrupted and isn’t as rich as it is shown on TV. Erkan is a lot like yangzhi. We discussed religion – he thinks it is stupid that people fight over religion cos it is basically the same thing, that society is screwed up cos we put energy into politics but we should be saving the earth and taking care of one another. He also mentioned that we are type 2 civilisation and I just had to test him so I asked if he has ever thought of a floating spaceship with its own ecosystem and he said no but he did watch some YouTube videos about something about solar power. So I think he is really interesting and a lot like yz. His sister informed me it was my stop so I bade them farewell and got off.
Hurried to have dinner at some viet place nearby, it was terrible, and then home to shower and pack. I was faster than expected so I left home 5 mins early. Luckily I did, cos the stupid train took more than an hour to get to the airport instead of the 33 mins indicted on the seoul metro app!! I was panicking. But in the end there was no queue at all at check in and immigration so I had plenty of time to spare heng ah!! So I am on the plane now and it feels surreal that I will be seeing my family in 14 hours or so. And it will be my last stop. I can’t believe it but I also can’t wait to be home comfortably. A part of me dreads meeting people though. Everyone is so eager to hear about my stories, but I really hate repeating stories. It takes so much energy to tell stories!
Very grateful that my Tinder adventure in Korea turned out so well. All the guys I met were sincere, gentlemanly and well behaved and didn’t try anything with me at all. Some credit goes to myself for scanning them well and communicating clearly. Some guys unmatched me when they found out I just wanted dinner, 1 did it although we already arranged to meet because he found out he wasn’t my first. Wth?! Guess it makes for an interesting article. Anw so happy I made so many new friends! I liked all of them, the meet ups were really fun.
Looking forward to phuket where I can finally rest well and calm my mind. It should be a good end to my solo traveling where I am constantly on alert and planning ahead and thinking about everything. It will be nice to be with family and feel taken care of for once. Wiuhiu!